Experience Italy: A True Italian Experience With My Friend Fabio
The most important benefit of learning new languages, for me, is the feeling of belonging that you get when you have the chance to meet and connect with people outside your normal circle or those you would never have met otherwise. Learning a new language, like Italian, gives you the opportunity to have the ability to communicate with new people and build new relationships that would not have been available if you never tried to pursue learning a new language. How do I know this? Since learning to speak Italian, I have been fortunate enough to have experiences that have given me memories to last a lifetime and led me to truly experience Italy.
Not long ago, I briefly signed up on a language exchange website while I was in Italy. I was going to be in the country for a few months and was trying to meet and connect with new people. I received a message from a guy named Fabio who reached out to me after looking up my blog and seeing all that I was doing with YLanguage and teaching Italian. He mentioned that he loved all of my work and suggested meeting up for coffee to do a language exchange. He noticed that I was in Tuscany and offered to take me around for a tour of the countryside in Chianti. I responded to him saying, “Yeah, that would be awesome!” He suggested that we could make some videos for the blog and he was happy to do whatever he could to help me produce some new and great content.
We met for the first time and instantly connected. He was such a nice guy and totally genuine. I also loved his Florentine accent when he spoke. I think I started speaking in a Florentine accent as well! The second time we met up we spent the day in Chianti and went to San Gimignano, picked up some delicious gelato, and saw a sweet sunset from this amazing castle.
Being able to connect with people like Fabio is incredible. If I had only known English and never learned Italian, this experience would have never happened. Being able to meet with someone like that, a local, who lives here and has their own dialect and Florentine accent, is an experience that is incomparable. Being able to hear him talk so descriptively and detailed about working in the vineyards and the wineries in Florentine Italian is something that gets lost in an English translation. The passion would have been absent if he had only spoken English, and if I had not learned Italian, I would have never been able to absorb that. I would never have been able to truly experience Italy.
On our third meeting, he took me out into the countryside again and this time with his girlfriend Annalisa to meet his friend, Lorenzo, who is a pizza maker and that had a little pizzeria. When we got there, I was the only American and there were no tourists anywhere nearby, just locals. They made me all sorts of special food and talked me through what everything was; from the pasta with truffles to an incredible pesto pizza.
After the delicious meal, we were able to go into the back with Lorenzo who showed me the kitchen with such pride. He told me how he made the dough, rolling it, putting it in the oven, and the entire process of adding the cheese, meat and toppings. Lorenzo didn’t speak very much English, so if I didn’t speak Italian I would never have been able to communicate with him or anyone else in the restaurant.
Check out the video below to see exactly how he made the pizza!
It is phenomenal what learning another language can do in your life. The doors that are opened when you do are indescribable. If I had only known English, I would never have experienced Italy in this way, and even if I had, it wouldn’t have been near as impactful. Sure, I would’ve grasped what they were talking about with making the pizza, but to hear the passion and to connect with them on a different level is something I would’ve completely missed out on. There’s also a whole new sense of belonging discovered when they realize that you are ‘one of them’ and that they can communicate with you because you took the time to learn their language.
This is just one example of how learning a new language has changed my life and how it could change yours. If you, too, want these experiences, then keep going and keep practicing your Italian, even when it gets hard. Don’t be discouraged. Listen to Italian every day. There is a whole world of opportunity waiting for you on the other side.
Are you wanting to learn Italian or have tried in the past but still struggle? Do you want to experience Italy in this way?
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